Stanley Park traffic slows to a crawl with only one lane open
VANCOUVER -- Nearly two weeks after the Vancouver Park Board instituted a plan for cars and bikes to share Stanley Park Drive, a much more old-fashioned form of transportation is bringing things to a crawl.
Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tours owner Gerry O’Neil has been operating in the park for decades — offering tourists a way to see the sites while riding in an open carriage.
His horses and carriages, with a top speed of five km/h, must now share the one lane dedicated to vehicle traffic, and that is causing problems.
“As you can imagine, when you’ve got 30 0r 40 cars behind you waiting, there’s a level of stress that you’re hoping to get out of their way,” said O’Neil.
He said drivers have been getting so frustrated that some have been swerving into the bike lane to get around the slow-moving carriages.
He also provided CTV News Vancouver with a video showing it happen.
“There’s several places around the park which is a blind corner,” said O’Neil. “It’s just an accident waiting to happen.”
The park board initially closed Stanley Park Drive to vehicle traffic in March in order to make space for cyclists, who were banned from the seawall to give joggers and pedestrians more room to physically distance during the pandemic.
Last month, the board voted to reopen one lane to cars and keep the second one for bicycles, temporarily, as part of a study looking at ways to permanently reduce motor vehicle traffic in the park.
O’Neil said there was no consultation before the plan was put in place.
“Ideally, scrap the trial and get all the stakeholders involved so we can all have our say and take into consideration everything that’s in the park,” he said.
When Stanley Park Drive reopened to vehicles, the park board said the plan was flexible and could evolve, but no changes have been announced so far.